[vcf-midatlantic] Trip to VCF PNW

Garrett Nievin gnievin at silvaire.org
Wed Mar 27 20:53:00 EDT 2019

I haven't been very active on the mailing list in a long time, and I
need to get a bit more so.

My wife and I had a fantastic trip from home in Virginia to the VCF in
Seattle this past weekend.  We combined the event with another trip
we've been wanting to make, and it could not have been better.

AMTRAK ran a sale late last year, and we picked up a "roomette" on the
Coast Starlight for a buy-one-get-one rate, and spent two days riding
the scenic rail from LA to Seattle.  A small private room with two
seats and bunks and windows, pretty solid meals included, and
amazing views and delightful train-mates and it cost us <$400 for the
two of us, total. As soon as they announced the sale, I booked it to
get us to Seattle for the VCF.

Getting around Seattle was fantastic.  We planned to have a rental car,
which fell through for reasons, and we ended up just walking and doing
a little bit of Uber-ing and saved a bunch of money and hassle.  We
parted ways on Saturday - I went to the VCF, and she went to do some
things with glassblowing and wine (in sequence, not concurrently).
Anyway, I grabbed one of the ubiquitous rental electric bikes and
scooted down to the fest, and it was terrific.  It's quite a
bike-friendly place.  

We split Friday between the Museum of Flight and the Living Computer
Museum + Labs, which was a day very well spent.  There's a good bit of
nostalgia in the LCM+L for people of my age, and it brought back
memories to sit down at an IBM 029 card punch and a TTY ASR-33 again as
I did throughout high school, and to be in a computer room again with
big systems and reel tapes with write-rings and impact printers.

The VCF was a most excellent event.  It was terrific putting some faces
to email addresses, talking with Oscar Vermeulen again and comparing
some notes on the Kim-Uno and PiDP-8 and -11, and meeting a bunch of
remarkable people doing really cool stuff.

Anyway, I highly recommend a similar excursion to anyone with the

My current projects on the bench are finishing touches on an IBM 5155
restoration, and a Sperry (rebadged Corona/Cordata) Portable PC which I'm
trying to work out the power supply.  Started in to just pull batteries
out of all the old boxes that needed it done, and it turned into a
burst of energetic vintage computing.


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